‘Why We Do What We Do’

Love Packages sends Christian literature around the world

‘Why We Do What We Do’

Love Packages sends Christian literature around the world

I grew up attending a denominational church, and I even went to parochial school. I heard about Jesus. But I never knew Him until I was sent to prison.

I was a no-good guy; I sold drugs for a number of years. After I got busted with a large amount of drugs, I was sentenced to an honor camp, and I was supposed to serve a lot of time—somewhere between one and 30 years.

While I was there, I started reading the Bible for hours on end. Nobody told me about Jesus; I started believing the Bible as the Word of God, and God changed me from the inside out. I realized I was a sinner who needed to turn away from my sin and give my life to Christ.

My life was radically changed. I was released after serving just three months and three days, and when I got out, I started doing things for the Lord.

In the spring of 1975, I had been a believer for a couple of years. I was teaching some Bible studies, and I had a little stack of Decision magazines, some devotionals and a couple of Bibles sitting in my dining room. Every time I walked through there, it was as if God pointed His finger at me and said, “Steve, you’re wasting those materials.”

Steve and Jeanie Schmidt

I argued with the Lord for about three months: “No, I’m going to use that material. I’m going to prepare lessons with it.” And it was like He said, “No, you’re not, Steve. You’re going to throw them away.”

So I finally gave in. I still didn’t know exactly what to do with the literature, but I knew five men who had just graduated from a Bible college and were going back to their homes in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and India. I wrote to them, asking, “Can you use English Christian literature? And if so, how much and how soon?” 

They wrote back and said, “Yes! We can use as much as you can get here, as soon as you can get it here.”

So my wife, Jeanie, and I started in the basement of our home. We collected Christian literature from our little church, as well as magazines and other materials we got in the mail. I shipped 60 little packages to those guys.

The following year, at various church dinners and other events in our community, people would ask me what I was doing. I’d say, “I collect old Bibles and Sunday school materials and send them overseas. People over there don’t have any.” 

And they’d go, “We’ve got a whole closet full of that stuff from our church. Can we bring it to you?”

Poor Jeanie; the next year we had stuff on the front porch, in the living room, in the dining room—everywhere. That second year, we shipped three and a half tons, the next year seven, then 11, and over the past 49 years it’s grown and grown. In 2023, we shipped more than 2,000 tons of Christian literature around the world. 

Several years ago, a woman in India found out that her husband was going to throw her out. She knew that meant she would end up as a beggar, a hard laborer or a prostitute. So she made up her mind that she was going to hang herself so that when her husband came home, he would find her lifeless body. She was walking through the marketplace, and one of our literature distribution teams handed her a Decision magazine. 

She took the magazine, walked home and tossed it on the table. Then she got a rope, tied it to the rafter, got up on the table and put the noose around her neck. She was just about to step off the table when she looked down and noticed that the cover of the magazine said, “There Is Hope.” She wondered what that meant, so she took off the noose, sat down and read about Jesus Christ for the first time. She gave her life to Christ, and the last I heard, she was a Sunday school teacher in Delhi.

The need is so great. I was in a Bible school in the Philippines once where 90 students were preparing for the ministry, and only 10 of them had a Bible. At a different Bible college, their library for 125 students was one shelf, about two feet long. In so many places, Bible colleges have no books, and pastors have no Bibles. We can never, ever, get enough Bibles.

Once, in India, I was supposed to meet one of my distributors, a pastor, but he was a day late showing up. When he arrived, he explained that 10 men had crossed the border from Myanmar and asked him for Christian literature. He offered them the two boxes he had left from his previous shipment. They sat down and began to cry. 

“Don’t you understand?” they said. “We’ve come so far. We don’t have any Bibles in our country. Please help us.”

He got a couple of friends to run and ask all the church members to come to the church with their Bibles. He told me, “I stood in front of my congregation and said, ‘These men have walked for 15 days. They begged me for Bibles. I want you to give me your Bibles tonight. I promise I’ll give you a better Bible than you’ve got. It might take me months to get it, but I promise I’ll give you one.’” 

That night, the whole congregation gave their Bibles away so that those men could take the Word of God to people who didn’t have it. And that’s why we do what we do. ©2024 BGEA

Steven J. Schmidt is founder of Love Packages, which circulates Christian literature by collecting new, used and outdated material from across the United States and shipping it to developing nations. For more information, go to LovePackages org.

Photos: Courtesy of Steve Schmidt

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